Peruvian-Style Olive, Potato & Cheese Salad

This unusual and versatile salad from Maricel Presilla, chef/owner of Cucharamama in Hoboken, is delicious and easy to make.

PERUVIAN-STYLE BLACK OLIVE, POTATO AND FRESH CHEESE SALAD (Ensalada de Aceitunas de Botija, Papas y Queso Fresco al Estilo Peruano)

“In this salad,” says Cucharamama chef/owner Maricel Presilla, “I pair Peru’s fat purple olives with queso blanco (a fresh cow’s milk cheese), boiled potatoes, and slivered red onions, and spike the zesty dressing with ground hot Andean panca peppers. The olives, panca, and frozen rocoto peppers are available in Hispanic markets. Serve the salad warm, room-temperature, or chilled with grilled fish, poultry, or meat.”

Makes 6 servings


4 Russet Burbank potatoes, about  2 pounds
1 (15-ounce) jar Peruvian purple olives (aceitunas de botija),
cut into slivers
8 ounces creamy queso blanco or French feta, cut into 1/2 inch
1 medium red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly slivered
1/3 rocoto pepper, thawed, seeded and cut into slivers (or 1
jalapeño, preferably red)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground panca pepper or (cayenne)
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Put about 2 quarts cold water in a large saucepan, and add 1 tablespoon salt. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes, adding them to the water as you work so they do not darken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain.

When cool, combine the potatoes in a large bowl with the olives, queso blanco, onion and rocoto. In a small bowl, whisk the olive and vinegar with the ground pepper, cilantro, and salt to taste. Pour over the salad and toss gently to mix. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a decorative platter and garnished with cilantro sprigs.

Click here to read a detailed review of Cucharamama.

Read more Eat & Drink articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown